PEBP1, a RAF kinase inhibitory protein, negatively regulates starvation-induced autophagy by direct interaction with LC3.

PMID 27540684


Autophagy plays a critical role in maintaining cell homeostasis in response to various stressors through protein conjugation and activation of lysosome-dependent degradation. MAP1LC3B/LC3B (microtubule- associated protein 1 light chain 3 β) is conjugated with phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) in the membranes and regulates initiation of autophagy through interaction with many autophagy-related proteins possessing an LC3-interacting region (LIR) motif, which is composed of 2 hydrophobic amino acids (tryptophan and leucine) separated by 2 non-conserved amino acids (WXXL). In this study, we identified a new putative LIR motif in PEBP1/RKIP (phosphatidylethanolamine binding protein 1) that was originally isolated as a PE-binding protein and also a cellular inhibitor of MAPK/ERK signaling. PEBP1 was specifically bound to PE-unconjugated LC3 in cells, and mutation (WXXL mutated to AXXA) of this LIR motif disrupted its interaction with LC3 proteins. Interestingly, overexpression of PEBP1 significantly inhibited starvation-induced autophagy by activating the AKT and MTORC1 (mechanistic target of rapamycin [serine/threonine kinase] complex 1) signaling pathway and consequently suppressing the ULK1 (unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1) activity. In contrast, ablation of PEBP1 expression dramatically promoted the autophagic process under starvation conditions. Furthermore, PEBP1 lacking the LIR motif highly stimulated starvation-induced autophagy through the AKT-MTORC1-dependent pathway. PEBP1 phosphorylation at Ser153 caused dissociation of LC3 from the PEBP1-LC3 complex for autophagy induction. PEBP1-dependent suppression of autophagy was not associated with the MAPK pathway. These findings suggest that PEBP1 can act as a negative mediator in autophagy through stimulation of the AKT-MTORC1 pathway and direct interaction with LC3.

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EHU012661 MISSION® esiRNA, esiRNA targeting human PEBP1 (esiRNA1)